The Films of Alejandro Jodorowsky: (Fando y Lis / El Topo / The Holy Mountain)
DVD | Box Set
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Among the extras included in this collectors box is previously unseen footage, a feature on the restoration process, an exclusive interview with Jodorowsky, optional director commentary tracks, subtitles, two special CDs of the films soundtracks and a separate DVD of the first film ever made by Jodorowsky, La Cravate.
-Original theatrical trailer- English V.O.
-2006 on camera interview with Jodorowsky (Language English/English subtitles)
-Photo Gallery/Original script excerpts
-Exclusive interview with Alejandro Jodorowsky
THE HOLY MOUNTAIN
- Deleted scenes with director commentary (Language: Spanish with optional EN, SP, FR & BR PORT subtitles)
- Original theatrical trailer -English V.O
- The Tarot short with director commentary (Language: Spanish with optional EN, SP, FR & BR PORT subtitles)
- Restoration process short (Original Language English)
- Photo Gallery / Original Script excerpts
- Restoration Credits
FANDO Y LIS
-La Constellation Jodorowsky documentary
-Original language French and English Stereo
TWO AUDIO CDS
- El Topo soundtrack
- The Holy Mountain soundtrack
How can so much mysticism be contained in a simple DVD box set? The Films of Alejandro Jodorowsky is a divine collection of the director's early films, restored and ready for repeated viewings. For it does take several viewings to imbue Jodorowky's invented archetypes with personal meaning and to familiarize oneself with his avant-garde approach to communicating artistic concepts. In this box, El Topo and Holy Mountain, Jodorowsky's stories of spiritual journeys through barren deserts, are paired with Fando Y Lis and La Cravate, a never before seen gem from the 1950s. This alone justifies the box set. La Cravate is a Technicolor tale of a man whose sadistic girfriend urges him to visit the head shop to shop for a new head. Miming his way through rows of living human heads, and trying several on with the help of a shop manager skilled in stitching skin, this Frankensteinian story establishes Jodorowsky's affinity for pitting effusive love against cruelty for maximum tension between involved characters. Fando Y Lis, on the other hand, is an early version of the later two masterpieces, about a couple whose quest for an imaginary land in the future, called Tar, introduces them to wizened forest masters, wild packs of women bowling, and enlightened drag queens. Filmed in black and white, Fando Y Lis proves that Jodorowsky's radical use of color in El Topo and Holy Mountain is no simple trope. Here, he relies more heavily on dramatic physical action, including miming and a paraplegic protagonist who is wheeled around in a wagon by her lover.
The box set contains the film soundtracks, director commentaries, and several interviews with Jodorowsky, including the documentary, La Constellation, in which he discusses his reliance on intuition, the notion of absurdism versus mystery, and his infamous usage of violence, which he eloquently explains as creative violence versus the destructive. Though this talented director refuses the claim that he is a mystic, it becomes clear in watching this body of work that he is achieving the sublime in a visually transcendental fashion. --Trinie Dalton
- Aspect Ratios: El Topo - 1.33:1
- The Holy Mountain - 2.35:1 Anamorphic
- Fando y Lis - 1.66:1 Letterboxed
- El Topo Extras
- Original Trailer
- Commentary track
- Jodorowsky interview short
- Photo gallery
- The Holy Mountain Extras
- Original theatrical trailer
- Deleted scenes short with Jodorowsky commentary
- The Restoration short
- The Tarot short with Jodorowsky commentary
- Fando y Lis Extras
- La Constellation documentary
- DIRECTOR COMMENTARY FOR ALL FEATURE FILMS
- Fando y Lis Extras: LA CRAVATE Short
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The Movies: Excellent quality prints! Bravo!!! Rich color and clean black and whites.
La Cravate: A bizarre, surrealist story in color. It's funny, and transcendently strange.
Fando y Lis: A fairy tale gone wrong in black and white. The desert in the film is so dry, it will make you thirsty, so keep something to drink nearby. It's a confrontationally honest film, so be prepared.
El Topo: A lifetime journey of a western gunfighter in color. You see the child become the inner child of the man and the effects of a myriad of life events upon him as he ages and must uphold his reputation as a tough guy. It is a very unique look at masculinity and how it comes to be for the character.
The Holy Mountain: A fairy tale transfigured in color. A surreal examination of spirituality amidst commerce and the insanity of the human race. It's poignant and funny all rolled into one. Life will make much more sense after you see it.
The Package: As a whole, *wow*!!! The thin packs are great and the text on the cases is relevant and concise.
Jodorowski hurls a giant gob of spit into the face of all organized religions, and if you can't take a profound level of unrelenting sacrelige and outright blasphemy, then skip this one. But if you appreciate true artistry in cinema, you will probably do no better. These are satires on the folly of the human condition: not parables for a modern age. The "meaning" of these films is elusive at best; juvenile and sophomoric at worst. Best to skip the meanings and focus on the images. AND WHAT IMAGES!! These are "moving paintings" with the same level of unfogettable tableaus as the "Qatsi" trilogy, Kubrick, or Guy Madden. Freakish, surreal, bizarre, and over the top artsy. Attention you gorehounds: these films are deliciously gory to the point of nausea and absolutely not for children or nervous persons.
I am hopeful, but doubtful that Jodorowsky will film again. Who is going to invest in a movie that gets banned everywhere it goes? The "Sons of El Topo" project (Abelcain) is dead in the water. He allegedly has a project called "King-----something or other" that has a 100 foot tall Jesus head as the main prop. I'll believe it when I see it in the theaters and not until. Now when do we get the uncut "Santa Sangre" on DVD?? In the meanwhile, this fine collection is a must for any scholar of world cinema. Just don't watch them with your Mother!
The most prominent of Jodorowsky's movies is El Topo (Spanish for "The Mole") which at least initially has the look of a Spaghetti Western. A man-in-black gunfighter travels by horse with his naked son. (Why is he naked? There may be a symbolic reason, but don't look for much in the way of literal explanations in Jodorowsky's works.) The gunfighter comes across a massacre and deals with the killers, and takes a lover who provokes him to take on the four Master Gunfighters, a challenge that will lead to unintended consequences. Among the three movies in the set, El Topo is the most easily accessible for the casual viewer, but it is also more than a little weird: one master gunfighter is blind and attended to by two men, one armless and one legless who together act as one person (in fact, Jodorowsky has many "freaks" in his films, and like his predecessor Tod Browning, typically views them as people of virtue); another gunfighter lives in a secluded, incestuous relationship with his mother.
Made prior to El Topo is Fando y Lis, a tale of a couple who are on a journey to a mystical holy city called Tar. Fando is a man tormented by what is probably sexual impotence and takes out his rage with various cruelties to his girlfriend, the paraplegic Lis. Their journey is akin to a trip through hell as they wander a blighted landscape and encounter various madmen and villains. The farther they go, the meaner Fando gets; in a way, it is the typical abuser-abusee relationship with him apologetic for his sins and her taking his abuse because she's utterly dependent on him.
Strangest of all the movies is The Holy Mountain, a strange mix of various religious and pseudoscientific (like astrology, tarot and alchemy) ideas. A thief who is also a Christ-like figure wanders a city and eventually comes into the lair of an alchemist who offers enlightenment. The thief will join a band of other people (each representing a different planet) on an excursion to The Holy Mountain where immortality awaits.
There are some themes that run through these three movies, particularly the search for spiritual enlightenment. The outsiders in society - such as freaks and prostitutes - are generally forces of good, while establishment figures - especially the idle rich - are monsters. But generally, the movies are so abstract that each person will get his or her own meaning out of it.
In addition to the three movies, the set does have a lot of extras, including commentaries, trailers, two soundtrack CDs (for El Topo and The Holy Mountain), a short film, La Cravate which is Jodorowsky's first work (and which, though strange, is also rather straightforward) and a documentary La Constellation - Jodorowsky, which adoringly treats the director as something of a modern guru.
These films are not for everyone. If you find David Lynch too odd for your tastes, than you should skip Jodorowsky. Also, although these films are unrated, it is safe to say that if they were, they'd likely be NC-17, so they are not family films. Personally, I liked the films, though I agree with one critic who pointed out more-or-less that just because something is beyond comprehension doesn't make it profound. I found the best way to enjoy these movies is to not try and make sense of them and just take pleasure in the visual spectacle and sheer bizarreness of them. And visually, these are fantastic movies unlike anything else out there.